Code of Conduct

Code of Collegial Conduct*

* This code of conduct has been adapted from several sources, including the UCI Physics Department code of conduct, the UW-Madison Astronomy code of conduct, the American Physical Society Guidelines for Professional Conduct, and UCSC Code of Conduct .

All people, including students, postdoctoral/professional researchers, faculty, staff, and visitors, are expected to treat each other with respect and consideration. A diversity of views, backgrounds, and opinions supports scientific creativity and productivity. Creating a climate that encourages the growth of everyone associated with our department’s activities is a high priority for us.
We endorse the statement of the American Physical Society that “science is best advanced when there is mutual trust, based upon honest behavior, throughout the community.”
Helpful Behavior
  • Step up to create a positive environment: be part of our community and take opportunities to help others feel welcome.
  • Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative.
  • Consider the impact of your words and actions on the people around you.
  • Be aware and welcoming when you find that others have different experiences and perspectives from yours.
  • Speak up if you witness damaging behavior and/or report it afterward. See below.
  • Listen carefully and respectfully if someone speaks up about your own behavior, and try not to be defensive or dismissive. Consider positive changes you can make.
  • Alert campus personnel if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
Damaging Behavior

Any conduct unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, demeaning, or hostile environment, including:

  • Harassing, intimidating, or discriminatory comments or jokes related to protected classes including race, color, religion, sex/gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital/domestic partnership status, medical condition, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, disability, and age;
  • Offensive or hurtful comments, including those related to physical appearance, socio-economic status, and body size, as well as the above protected classes;
  • Referencing someone’s documentation status without the clear consent for disclosure by the individual;
  • Unwelcome and sustained/repeated disruption of teaching, studying, colloquia or other department-related events or tasks;
  • Potential Title IX violations including unwelcome physical contact, sexual attention, or innuendo; stalking; photographing or recording of an individual without consent; sex/gender discrimination or harassment.

There is a difference between unencumbered, passionate scientific discussions, which raise the level of discourse, and disparaging comments, which do not.

Reporting & Follow-up, Resources

  • Title IX-related (sex discrimination, sexual harassment or violence) issues: please be aware that university employees are mandated to report incidents to the UCSC Title IX office (see details here). Thus:
    • If you are unsure if you want to report a Title IX violation, CARE (Campus Advocacy Resources and Education) is an option. CARE advocates provide nonjudgmental support and resources for survivors of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking, and their significant others. See Information about confidentiality is included on the website.
    • If you want to report a Title IX violation directly to the Title IX office, see
    • If you want to discuss a potential Title IX violation with a faculty member, TA, Graduate or Undergraduate advisor, or Department Chair or Manager, you are encouraged to do so; keep in mind that this discussion will be limited in its confidentiality because they are required to report this to the Title IX office.
  • For any other concerns you’d like to raise within the physics department, including disparaging and/or dismissive comments during academic discussions in any venue, there are several options that will result in follow-up. The nature of the follow-up will depend on the details of the issue, and there will be appropriate documentation to inform actions and policies. Options include:
    • Reporting a concern or incident using the department feedback form, which has an option for anonymous input;
    • Discussion with any faculty member[1] of the Diversity and Climate committee;
    • The graduate or undergraduate advisor;
    • The department chair and/or the department manager.
In addition to the resources linked above, here are some useful links:

[1]  Faculty members are recommended here, to avoid placing others in difficult situations, but you are also welcome and encouraged to talk with any member of the Diversity and Climate committee, who will be happy to listen and help suggest options. This is also a way to help surface ongoing issues that need attention.